The voting reform agenda seems dead in Congress. One can argue about the quality of the two bills being proposed. And one can argue about the filibuster. Lawrence Lessig reminds us that the real problem is the untethered pursuit of partisan political power that has taken over our political system.
Simon van Zuylen-Wood has a profile of J.D. Vance that looks beyond the diatribes and tries to understand Vance’s evolution and his popular appeal. He argues that Vance represents an “alienated worldview” that appeals not only to disaffected white voters, but increasingly to multiracial working-class voters.
Sabrina Tavernise does a deep dive into the way the pandemic has intensified a larger fight over what it means to be an American.
Rebecca Solnit asks why Republican voters keep believing the lies about the election told by Donald Trump. And to answer that question she turns to Hannah Arendt.
When asked by Günter Gaus what was irretrievably lost when she had to flee the Nazis and leave Germany and Europe behind, Hannah Arendt answered: “The Europe of the pre-Hitler period? I do not long for that, I can tell you. What remains? The language remains.” In a profile of the writer Lydia Davis, Wyatt Mason dives into this question of how knowing many languages changes and enriches a writer.
Professor David Bleich of the University of Rochester has been suspended from teaching because he spoke aloud the n-word while reading from a short story.
In her last book The Life of the Mind, Hannah Arendt writes that “thinking is out of order.” Thinking frees us from the world of appearances and allows us to think things beyond our common sense that we share with others. In this way, thinking is not about the pursuit of truth but it is, Arendt argues, about the pursuit of meaning. Thomas Bartscherer meditates on Arendt’s characterization of thinking as out of order.